Network Wilmington Real Estate News

April 29, 2022

8 Proven Ways to Make Your Carolina Beach Vacation Rental Stand Out

Hat, sunglasses, and suitcase in the bedroom of a modern beach vacation rental.


From the beautiful beach to the delicious restaurants, Carolina Beach has a lot to offer its vacationers. But as people across the U.S. begin to feel comfortable resuming travel once again, it’s time to reevaluate your vacation rental marketing strategies. 


Here are 8 things you can do to set your vacation rental apart from the competition:


  1. Be strategic about your upgrades. First things first – you need to pick a target demographic. Who do you suspect will be most interested in staying in your home? What amenities would that demographic find most alluring? Pick a few of the first things that pop to mind and investigate whether you could reasonably tackle them. Remember, you don’t have to upgrade EVERY part of your vacation rental all at once.
  2. Develop communal AND intimate spaces. Although it’s essential to invest in attractive spaces for the entire group, the social demands of vacations can sometimes be just too much. Nice, secluded spaces can offer your guests a much needed escape. Even if you’re renting out a small beachside condo, you can create intimate spaces with cozy bedroom chairs or comfy outdoor seating.
  3. Use high quality images. Let’s be honest…photos are the most exciting part of planning for a vacation. If your photos don’t look appealing (and professional), potential visitors are going to skim right over your listing. Keep in mind, your photos should always be as up-to-date as possible. If you’ve recently purchased new furniture or upgraded technology, don’t hide it!
  4. Pick your main photo wisely. This first image is the most important part of your listing – it will help the user to decide whether to move on or click to learn more. If you’re on a tight budget, consider spending just a little extra time and money modernizing one room of your vacation home. Then make THAT your main image.
  5. Create powerful, detailed descriptions. The photos are crucial, but the words written on a listing can still make a significant difference. From your headline to the description of your amenities, the language needs to be creative and convey the mood and benefits of your home. The most impactful descriptions do a great job of setting the scene, making it easy for the reader to imagine themselves in the home. 
  6. Take advantage of the location. You and I both know that Carolina Beach comes with a wide range of attractions. However, your average aspiring vacationer may not. That’s why you’ve got to allude to the local attractions in both your photos and descriptions. Include pictures of the stunning views and surrounding scenery. Highlight local activities you think your target audience would enjoy.
  7. Offer your local expertise. When scoping out a vacation rental property, visitors want you to present a “pre-vacation experience.” It’s not enough anymore just to offer a basic list of amenities. You’ll really impress potential guests if you provide a pdf of local recommendations that helps them get started with their vacation plans. And be sure to emphasize your rental’s close proximity to all the fun activities around Carolina Beach.
  8. Use an easy, convenient booking system. That’s us! When you partner with our vacation property management team, we’ll provide all you need to ensure your vacation rental is a success – from onsite management to online listings. 

Want to learn more about our Vacation Rental Management services?

Send us a message or give us a call at 910-458-8562.


Posted in Vacation Rentals
April 25, 2022

Buyer or Seller: Who Pays For Home Inspection Repairs in North Carolina?

A man evaluating a home inspection.


You discovered your dream home and signed a contract. You’ve heard that it’s good to get a home inspection before closing on a house, but you have some questions…


Who’s responsible for setting up the home inspection? Even more, who covers the repairs? 


There are 3 main factors that determine who pays for the repairs identified in a North Carolina home inspection: 


  1. Your contract
  2. The nature of the repairs
  3. And the state law

Let’s break that down a bit. 

Your Contract

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but we’ll say it again. It’s CRUCIAL that you read your new home contract very carefully before you sign. 


When a seller and buyer draw up a contract for a home, they generally include provisions regarding the very question of who pays for home inspection repairs. The details of these contingencies can vary, as they are entirely dependent upon the agreement between the two parties. 


For example, the contract may include a provision requiring the seller to pay for the repairs up to a certain amount of money, at which point the buyer would have to shoulder the rest of the cost. 


In other cases, a major issue discovered during the home inspection may give the buyer an opportunity to back out of the signed contract without incurring a penalty. 


In highly competitive housing markets – as we’re seeing here in 2022 – buyers are often more likely to accept a less favorable contingency, possibly even agreeing to purchase a home “as is” (meaning they cannot terminate the contract even if they later discover the home needs some repair).


NOTE: Even if this is the case, buyers still need to schedule a home inspection. The report will help the buyer decide whether they can afford to move forward with the contract (or if they’d rather simply pay the penalty for backing out).

Nature of the Repairs

Home inspection reports typically outline both large and small repair needs. Although a buyer COULD ask the seller to cover the entire long list of repairs, they’d have better luck requesting payment for just a few of the most significant fixes – say, if there are major issues with the home’s foundation or piping systems. 


When making such requests, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the opposite party’s motivation. A seller who is worried about losing the buyer will be more likely to fulfill repair requests. And a buyer who doesn’t think they have a good chance of finding a better home in their budget range may deem it best to just cover the repair costs themselves.

North Carolina Law

In North Carolina, sellers have a legal obligation to either repair or disclose serious problems with their home. So, if a repair is a significant one, sellers almost always opt to pay for it.


These major issues include things like severe water damage, mold issues, termite damage, missing or broken smoke detectors, structural problems, HVAC system or wiring issues, or other state building code violations. 


Specific state laws are the ONLY things that can determine which seller-funded fixes are obligatory. If a type of repair is left unmentioned in the law, there is still room for negotiation.



Why It’s Best to Hire a REALTOR

When helping you develop a home contract, North Carolina licensed real estate agents are REQUIRED to follow all the applicable state laws. However, some of these regulations don’t necessarily apply to contracts drawn up by private parties.


Recruiting a qualified local real estate agent to help create the contract is ultimately your best chance of achieving your desired end result.


Have more questions about home inspection repairs? Or need help evaluating a sale contract?

Our agents are eager and available to answer your questions and guide you through the home-buying or -selling process. Give us a call today at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Buying a Home
April 20, 2022

North Carolina Azalea Festival

The highlight of springtime in Wilmington has to be the North Carolina Azalea Festival, otherwise known as Azalea Fest. This community celebration runs from April 9-13 2022 and is sure to take over Historic Downtown and include an array of fun events for all ages.

The festival kicks off at Riverfront Park on April 9 with the Queen’s Coronation, where the Queen will officially be crowned in front of an adoring crowd of onlookers and celebrity guests. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be a debutante to enjoy Azalea Fest. You will, however, need your appetite. The Azalea Fest Street Fair spans Water, Front, and Market Street, and serves as the main walkway for food and entertainment. Over 40 food vendors are expected to participate and will offer everything from lemonade, funnel cakes, and fried chicken to gyros, crab cakes, and even deep-fried Oreos.

Another main event of the week is the North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 12. The parade attracts hundreds of people, so be sure to come early to get a good view of the floats, horses, band, and Queen Azalea herself. Azalea Fest is also bringing their A-game in the live music department this year. The headlining rock band is Widespread Panic, who will play the outdoor Miller Lite Main Stage (411 N. Front Street) at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12. The festival will also feature Country music stars Justin Moore, Randy Houser, and Josh Thompson, who will play the stage on Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m.

There are plenty of offsite events during Azalea Fest. One of our favorites is the Historic Home Tour, which allows patrons to tour many of the beautiful, historic homes in downtown Wilmington. The event will run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13. We are also very excited that the Cole Brothers Circus is back in town from April 10-13, featuring amazing acrobats, motorcycle maniacs, White Tigers, a high wire troupe, The Human Cannonball, and more! Note that tickets for many Azalea Fest events should be purchased in advance.

There are so many other events that makeup Azalea Fest—the best way to find out what they’re all about is to come see for yourself.

Posted in Local Events
March 31, 2022

9 Steps to Picking the a Family Friendly Neighborhood in Wilmington, NC

Image of a mother, after, young daughter, and son strolling through a family-friendly neighborhood.

The Wilmington region is home to a wide range of residents — all the way from college students to retired beach-lovers to long-time locals. However, families are one of the most rapidly growing populations in the area.

As communities within Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover Counties continue to experience extraordinary growth, more and more time and resources are being devoted to schools, community events, businesses, and more!

But, how do you go about finding the flourishing neighborhoods that will set your family up for success?

How to Choose the Most Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Wilmington NC

Your family’s home is more than just a house. It includes everything in your community, from your immediate neighborhood to the surrounding land, businesses, and even local traditions and events. Picking the right community is essential! 

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 9 essential steps to picking the Wilmington, NC neighborhood that’s right for your family:

  1. Scope out the local educational resources. If you have kids, odds are that schooling opportunities are one of the first things you will check. The New Hanover County School District ranks 16th in the state, and many schools in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties have received high ratings in various categories — like academics, teachers, diversity, college prep, and clubs and activities.
  2. Check local event calendars. In the Wilmington area, you’ll find no shortage of community events and activities — from annual festivals and fairs to weekly markets and unique holiday celebrations. Between Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach, there will always be something for your family to do.
  3. Look for nearby nature. Kids flourish when they have the space to explore and grow. Even if your new home doesn’t have a very big lawn, proximity to Carolina, Kure, and Wrightsville beaches and a wide variety of family-friendly parks can help fill the hunger for play and adventure.
  4. Spend some time with Google or Apple Maps. What do you see around the neighborhood? Are there clear, safe walking routes to nearby parks? How close are the nearest school, grocery store, and hospital? Even if you can’t tour the area in-person, simply spending a few minutes looking at the roads, buildings, and area around your potential new home will help you get a better idea of what it will be like to live there.
  5. Take an in-person tour. If at all possible, you should try to see your new home and neighborhood in person. There’s no better way to get a true sense of the kind of environment your family will live in. 
  6. Chat with the neighbors. One of the aspects that really MAKES a neighborhood are the actual neighbors. If you’re able to tour in-person, take a walk around your neighborhood and try to strike up conversations with several of your potential neighbors. Ask them about the area and what they like about living there.
  7. Pay special attention to local advertising. You can tell a lot about a town based on the type of marketing you see on local television, online, and as you drive around the community. If you see a good number of kid-focused ads, odds are, the community is full of families just like yours.
  8. Check out local reviews. Reading online reviews is one of the best things you can do to make sure your neighborhood will be a good fit for your family. Even the tourist reviews that pop up for Carolina and Wrightsville Beach can give you insight that will help you make your choice.
  9. Consult with a local REALTOR. Even if you walk through every one of these steps, you’ll likely still be missing some crucial information you’d like to consider as you're making a decision on your new home. This is where an experienced local REALTOR will help!

The Local Expertise of Network Real Estate Agents

Nobody knows the Wilmington area better than the team here at Network Real Estate. After all, we’ve been here since 1982 — way before Wilmington boomed into the bustling town it is today. 

Need some help narrowing your family home search? 

Our agents are eager and available to answer your questions and guide you through the home search process. Give us a call today at 910-395-4100.




Posted in Buying a Home
March 15, 2022

Wrightsville Beach VS. Carolina Beach: Where to Live?

Drone view of homes along Wrightsville Beach coast.

Attracted to coastal living in southeastern North Carolina?

The next step: deciding between the two largest beach towns in the area — Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.

The Network Real Estate team has been here a while and has a strong feeling for the lay of the land. To help you decide you feel confident in, we’ve outlined the biggest advantages of living in each location. 

Benefits of Living at Wrightsville Beach

East of central Wilmington and north of Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach comes with a variety of unique qualities that make it a wonderful place to call home: 

  • It’s an upscale environment. To many people, Wrightsville Beach seems a little more “polished” than Carolina Beach. You’ll definitely get a greater “wine-and-cheese” sort of vibe from Wrightsville Beach-goers.
  • It’s closer to the hub of Wilmington. Directly to the west is the city-center of Wilmington, a river town that offers a wide range of activities, from the interactive Battleship NC museum to the restaurants, bars, and shops in the historic downtown river district. 
  • The beach has a gentler slope. The steeper the beach slope, the kinder the waves and the more suited the beach is for leisurely swimming. While Carolina Beach’s slope is steep in many places, Wrightsville offers its visitors a more gradual incline.
  • It provides top-notch surfing. In fact, Wrightsville Beach is one of the best surfing destinations along the east coast. And the watersports don’t end there! You can do it all — from wake boarding and paddle boarding to deep sea fishing and scuba diving. 
  • It’s dog-free much of the year. If you’re not a big fan of man’s best friend, you’ll be happy to learn that during the on-season (April through September) dogs aren’t allowed on the beach.
  • It’s a haven for bird-watchers. If your perfect day sounds like spending time outside, breathing in the fresh salty air and birdwatching, Wrightsville Beach is the perfect place for you. The south end of the beach is a favorite of many beach-nesting birds — like the Least Tern and Black Skimmer.

Benefits of Living at Carolina Beach

At the farthest southeast corner of North Carolina, Carolina Beach (along with its neighbor, Kure Beach) is actually nicknamed Pleasure Island. Here’s why:

  • It’s normally less crowded. Because Wrightsville Beach is smaller and closer to central Wilmington, it’s packed. At Carolina Beach, you can enjoy a simpler, more secluded beach environment, especially during the off-season.
  • It offers more kid-friendly activities. From the NC Aquarium and Fort Fisher to the boardwalk arcade and the stunning Carolina Beach State Park, there's no shortage of activities for extraordinary family weekend excursions.
  • It’s a lot less expensive. While the typical Wrightsville Beach home currently costs over $1 million, the average Carolina Beach home is selling for about half of that price.
  • It has an unmatched “chill” vibe. It’s the perfect beach if you prefer to lounge on the beach with beer in hand. Actually, Freeman Park — on the north end of the beach — is one of the few NC beaches that will allow you to drive onto the beach, camp, and enjoy an open fire. 
  • There are fewer parking & beach patrol restrictions. With the greater numbers of Wrightsville Beach visitors comes the inevitable difficulties of parking and stricter beach restrictions. At Carolina Beach, it’s easier to find a parking spot and avoid running into any unwanted limitations.
  • It’s more dog-friendly. Although both beaches have some dog restrictions, Carolina Beach is a little more lax, allowing you to bring your dog onto the beach even during the on-season before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Plus, the beach at nearby Fort Fisher permits dogs (on-leash) at all hours, all year-round.

But…the beaches share a lot in common. 

Although there are many differences, the towns come with many of the same advantages. From the boating opportunities to the frequent festivals and events, even to the many beloved local restaurants and bars, each town comes with spectacular adventures to fill any interest.

Ready to search for homes in Carolina or Wrightsville Beach? 

Our agents are happy to help you start your home search process. Call us today at 910-395-4100.



Posted in Buying a Home
March 9, 2022

2022 Travel Trends That May Affect Your Wilmington Area Vacation Rental

Image of a woman relaxed and excited to be working on her laptop on the beach.

As later variants of the coronavirus slowly subside and fall into our rearview mirrors, many experts in the tourism industry expect travel to rise back to pre-pandemic highs. 


And actually, the resurgence of the travel industry is already under way!


If you own a vacation rental in Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, or anywhere in the Wilmington area, you are probably already seeing an uptick in spring and summer bookings. 


“2021 and 2022 turned out to be most property owners’ best years ever, by nearly 20-40%,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent.


But just how much of a revival can you anticipate?


Will people start traveling more in 2022?

Absolutely! Many people are already scheduling luxury trips for spring and summer 2022. 




It’s what many are calling a bucket-list effect. There’s nothing like an anxiety-driving pandemic to push people to finally go visit the places they’ve always wanted to see.  


After being cooped up in their cramped homes for two years, people are eager — maybe even desperate — to get away. 


Nearly everyone — young and old — feels as if they’ve lost two valuable years of their lives and are ready to make up for lost time.


Where are travelers planning to go in 2022?

When we say people are ready to make up for lost time, we’re not just talking about brief lake vacations or weekend trips. 


No…people from all over the U.S. are planning to “go big” this year, scheduling trips to “epic destinations” (perhaps, even, across the globe), according to an Expedia survey of 12,000 travelers. To be precise, 68% of Americans have extravagant travel plans in the works.


Although more people will be looking internationally for their next vacation spot, domestic travel still ranks as the top choice for Americans.


The Expedia study found that 59% of U.S. respondents are already scheduling domestic travel in 2022.

Image of a family waiting to get on an airplane in the airport waiting area.

What are 2022 travelers looking for in a vacation?

2022 travel plans vary as much as there are different responses to the stress of the last couple of years. Many people are feeling the need for thrill and adventure, while others are looking for a sort of mental health retreat


In fact, 36% of U.S. travelers are seeking a sense of contentment and well-being as they’re making vacation plans, and 38% are looking forward most to merely relaxing and doing nothing while on vacation (Expedia). 


And what better place to achieve these personal wellness goals than a sweet Wilmington area beach vacation home? 


Vacationers are looking for spacious vacation rentals that lend themselves easily to relaxation and pampering. So, to get the biggest bang for your buck, think about upgrading your beach rental to maximize its sense of luxury. 


Plus, as many businesses are opting to maintain remote work situations, workers are starting to schedule more “work-cations.” I mean, what’s stopping people from relaxing with their feet in the sand in between work meetings?

How much are 2022 travelers willing to spend?

Approximately 70% of leisure travelers in major countries — like the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, and Spain — are prepared to spend more money on travel in 2022 than they have over the last five years, according to research from the World Travel & Tourism Council and


Gone are the days of compromising due to the looming worldwide pandemic. Many people are more than willing to spend their hard-earned savings to take the dream vacation they deserve. 


After all, it’s been a rough couple of years!


That means, beach vacationers will be happy to pay higher rates for a nice, luxury vacation rental on Carolina, Wrightsville, or Kure Beach. So, as long as your space is up-to-date and attractive, you’ll have no problem securing back-to-back bookings and an impressive return on investment.




Thinking about investing in a vacation rental in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? Our agents are here to help you find the best beach home investment in the area! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Investors
March 2, 2022

Top 10 Perks of Living in Carolina Beach

Image of two people lounging casually on the beach, sitting back and watching the sunrise.

Want to move to the beautiful east coast? 

We don’t blame you! After all, we chose this life as well. 

We’ve been here awhile, so take it from us. Carolina Beach is an AMAZING place to live. Here’s why: 

1. The beach, of course!

Why else would you move to the coast? 

If you feel your best when your toes are in the sand and you’re listening to the sound of the waves, Carolina Beach is meant for you. 

When you live so close to the ocean, a luxurious afternoon at the beach can be your Saturday routine (rather than a vacation every year or two). Even in winter months, you’ll get the occasional 70-degree day to take in the warm rays and salty air. 

And for those water-lovers out there, Carolina Beach offers a wide variety of water activities. Whether you are into boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or jet skiing, there are countless rental and docking options across Pleasure Island (which also includes the neighboring Kure Beach). 

If that’s not enough, Carolina Beach is home to Freeman Park, one of the ONLY places where you’re allowed to drive out onto the beach, set up camp, and enjoy an open fire.

2. There's a TON to do.

Although we know this will NEVER happen…if you get tired of the beach, there’s a lot more to do in this one-of-a-kind beach town. 

Festivals & Events

Whether you want to spend your weekend perusing a local market, eating delicious food, listening to live music, or flying kites on the beach, the town seems to have festivals and activities for every interest.

The Boardwalk

Over the years, locals have joined together to bring life to the Carolina Beach boardwalk. And they’ve done a heck of a job! Food and Wine Magazine named Carolina Beach’s boardwalk one of the best in the country.

 With a variety of local restaurants, boutiques, shops, an old-school arcade, and an amusement park, the boardwalk’s attractions are seemingly endless.

Outdoor Activities

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Carolina Beach State Park will be your favorite spot, boasting several forested hiking trails, camping and picnic sites, kayak rentals, and boating opportunities. 

The Nightlife

Carolina Beach is the perfect spot for night owls! From local hangouts to live music and dancing events to camping on the beach, the town offers more nightly options than you’ll know what to do with.

3. Easy Transportation.

Going to the beach? Grabbing a bite? Or picking up a few groceries? 

 At Carolina Beach, making these trips can be as easy as hopping on your bike, climbing into your golf cart, or simply traveling by foot. Everything you need is just a short ride or walk away.

4. Not TOO Touristy.

Although Carolina Beach is a vibrant, attractive beach town, it’s typically not “overwhelmed” with tourists, especially during the chilly months. Plus, many restaurants offer special deals for locals during the off-season.

5. A Strong Community Feel.

Carolina Beach is one of the few coastal towns that still evokes a sense of true community. 

 Depending on your choice of neighborhood, you’ll find yourself regularly running into neighbors and friends at the community pool, clubhouse, boat docks, piers, and tennis courts.

A mother and daughter eating icecream amid downtown beachside shops.

6. Variety of Family-Friendly Activities.

Looking for a home your kids will love? 

 With its boardwalk amusement park and arcade and the variety of outdoor activities at Carolina Beach State Park and on the water, Carolina Beach is overflowing with adventures your family will never forget.

7. High-Ranking Schools.

Your children will not only cherish the fun daily life in Carolina Beach, but they’ll also get a great education

 The town falls under the New Hanover County School District (NHCS), ranked the 16th best school district in North Carolina. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1, NHCS offers the support your child needs to thrive.

8. Stunning Holiday Celebrations.

If you ask a Carolina Beach local, they’ll probably tell you how much they adore the holidays. Every year, Pleasure Island locals decorate the entire town in beautiful lights to celebrate the Island of Lights Festival.

 But the fun doesn’t end there! You’ll never do Christmas the same again after you experience the area’s holiday markets and flotilla competitions. Not to mention the holiday events in nearby downtown Wilmington.

9. Near the Wilmington Hub.

As if Carolina Beach doesn’t offer enough attractions and activities all on its own, you’ve also got Wilmington just a little to the north, with its bustling, historic downtown district right along the Cape Fear River.

10. Close to the Airport.

Just a quick 20-minute drive away, it’s easy to travel to and from your future hometown. Whether you need to get a flight out or your family wants to come visit, cross-country travel is simple and convenient.

Ready to start looking for a Carolina Beach home

Our agents know the area well and can find you a home in a neighborhood that fits your needs. Give us a call today at 910-395-4100.

RELATED: Tips for Moving to Carolina Beach, NC

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 17, 2022

Why are Wilmington Area Housing Prices So High in 2022?

Image of a young couple struggling to pay for a new home.

Whether you’re buying a home for the first time or looking for a Wilmington upgrade, you’re probably wondering if the housing market will ever be in your favor again.

I mean…the prices are bound to drop eventually…right?


But there are a lot of factors keeping housing costs high for the foreseeable future. 

How did we get here?

To understand today’s housing market, we’ve got to look all the way back to the 2008 Housing Crisis. Causing a dramatic drop in prices (33% to be exact), the housing market crash created an economic recession that’s taken more than a decade to recover from. 

The country’s housing prices began growing steadily in 2012 and should have completely rebounded by the end of 2018. 

But, then…Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast, destroying much of the newly developed housing inventory and setting the state’s housing market back a bit. 

Less than two years later, we found ourselves in a global pandemic, which has had all sorts of impacts on the housing market. From a massive shipping problem and building material shortage to significant shifts in buyer and seller attitudes, the COVID-19 virus only exacerbated the already existing supply issues.

Between Hurricane Florence and the pandemic, it’s no surprise that housing prices have spiked in recent years. 

“There was a slight pause during COVID — maybe a 6-month pause or so — but after mid-year of 2020, prices just took off,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent. “Prices might have nearly doubled since 5 years ago. Five years ago, you could have maybe got a starter house in Wilmington for $100-and-something, and now, it’s $300.”

And the scary increase in prices has sent buyers and sellers reeling in different ways. 

While homebuyers are unable to secure homes within their budget range, sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market because it's become more and more difficult to find a new home. 

“For 4 years now, I’ve been saying when these condos sell for these prices, it’s going to create an influx of sellers,” McKoy said. “You’d have thought that the increase in prices would have created some sellers, but it hasn’t.”

Hence, the sort of housing stalemate we’re finding ourselves in.

How does Wilmington’s Growth Contribute? 

If you’ve ever spoken with someone who’s lived in Wilmington for a while, you probably know that the town has experienced booming growth over the last few decades. 

And that growth is continuing to this day.

Every year, United Van Lines conducts a study of Americans’ moving patterns. In 2021, North Carolina ranked as the 13th most moved-to state. And Wilmington was the third most popular moving destination among all U.S. cities (after earning the #1 spot in 2020). 

With the already-sparse inventory of homes, the housing market is struggling to keep up with the growing Wilmington population. So, although it’s not the sole driving force behind the hike in prices, the growth of the Cape Fear Region is definitely a big contributor to the strain. 

Image of some small wooden houses and a magnifying glass over a bag of coins picturing a bar graph and upward pointing trend arrow.

When will Wilmington Area Housing Prices Drop? 

Home prices will drop when (or if) one of two things happens. Either the demand has to decrease or the supply needs a big boost. 

Even amid the pandemic, Wilmington’s population (and thus, the demand for housing) continued to grow. But after peaking at 2.37% in 2016, the area’s rate of growth has hit a plateau of just over 1% in recent years.

Even if the population and demand decrease gradually, you’ll hardly notice a change in price. The descent will just be too slow. 

Several factors could boost the housing supply, though: 

  1. More new home construction — if and when construction companies can get the materials they need
  2. Expansion into surrounding areas with lower demand — such as Leland and Hampstead
  3. Changes in buyer and seller attitudes — sellers need to feel comfortable with the risk of putting their homes homes on the market & buyers need to be willing to take on the risk larger mortgages (although, this is the kind of riskiness that contributed to the 2008 Housing Crisis)
  4. Responses to affordability challenges — if the country’s housing prices become too unaffordable, the government may provide some sort of assistance

Hoping to buy a home in 2022? 

Whether you’re looking for a home in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, our realtors will help you determine what you can afford and find you a home that you’ll fall in love with! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 26, 2022

2022 Housing Market Outlook in Wilmington, NC

Image of a clock with houses atop stacks of coins.

As we begin 2022, there’s a lot happening in the Wilmington area housing marketing. 

From the pandemic influences to general market growth to the increase in Wilmington’s population, there are a wide variety of factors impacting prices, supply, and demand. 

Is now a good time to buy or sell your home? 

It all depends whether 2021’s market trends will continue into the new year. 

Our 2022 Housing Market Predictions

Because we can’t yet put COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors, the pandemic’s housing trends will likely continue. Our realtors suspect home prices will remain high for the foreseeable future — at least into the first part of 2022. 

Here’s what we expect to happen: 

  • Prices, appreciation, sales, & mortgage rates will most likely increase by several percentage points.
  • Inventory of new and existing homes will probably continue to be pretty tight, perhaps increasing slightly in some areas.
  • Demand for new and existing homes will almost certainly remain strong, as about 45 million millennials approach the key home-buying age (U.S. Census Bureau).

In addition to financial, supply, and demand factors, the housing market has changed in some other significant ways. 

As you may have experienced firsthand, many workplaces were forced to rely on remote work possibilities as COVID-19 hit the streets. For many companies, the newfound workplace flexibility is here to stay.

How does this affect the housing market? 

Well, if people don’t have to “physically” go into work, there’s no real reason for them to live close to their “physical” workplace. This opens up the door for them to move…honestly… wherever they want!

We may see fewer people wanting to live in big metropolitan areas and more people moving to areas with a smaller population density. We may see people choosing more affordable living options or even moving to those places they’ve always wanted to visit. 

“There’s a lot of people moving here because they realized they could work from anywhere,” said Kevin McKoy, Carolina Beach Network Real Estate Agent. “So, they might have gotten out of Raleigh or Charlotte or a bigger city to come near the beach — Wilmington, the beaches — and live here. And when you can sell for a Raleigh price, for instance, it’s quite a deal.”

Wilmington area housing prices aren’t as high as the near million dollar prices of big cities like Raleigh and Charlotte, McKoy said. In these larger North Carolina metropolitan areas, buyers are spending anywhere from $800 thousand to $1 million on modest homes

This is a major reason McKoy doesn’t expect Wilmington area housing prices to decrease anytime soon.

In addition to the new housing possibilities of remote work, COVID has afflicted the labor market with its own supply and demand challenges. Namely, increasingly competitive wages may very well give more people the resources they need to afford the steep home prices. 

Additionally, homebuyers are growing a stronger preference for suburban homes and larger, more spacious homes. After all, they need the space to conduct their remote work duties. 

However, with the sparse inventory of homes, McKoy says there’s not much room for buyers to be very picky. McKoy is seeing more and more homebuyers compromise on their home preferences — just so they can get a roof over their heads. If buyers are unwilling to sacrifice a few ideal features, it can take years to find and secure the right house!

Image of an excited young couple with a baby viewing the inside of their ideal home.

How the 2022 Housing Market Affects YOU

What cues should you take from these 2022 housing market trends? It depends on your goals: 

If you’re looking to buy a home…

You need to define your budget carefully. Time and time again, potential homebuyers are bidding on homes that end up selling for hundreds of dollars over the asking price. Between the increased prices and mortgage rates, you need to budget high

And nowadays, you’ve got to make decisions quickly. Once a home is listed in the market, it could be snatched up in just 6 hours, McKoy said. There’s no time to stall.

“I’ve got a handful of buyers now — one of them is looking for a condo at the beach, one’s looking for land, one’s looking for a house in Wilmington in the 300 range, and one’s looking for a house in Wilmington in the 850 range,” McKoy said. “There’s hardly an option.”

Regardless, you should NEVER buy a home unless you feel comfortable with your loan and the amount you’ll pay month-to-month. 

Do you remember what caused the 2008 housing crisis? 

Too many people taking on risky loans they couldn’t afford. Fortunately, our realtors look out for YOUR best interest. We’ll help you determine what you can safely afford. Just give us a call at 910-395-4100.

If you’re thinking about selling…

The market is in a great spot for you right now. Assuming it’s in good shape, your home will sell quickly. Plus, with the high demand, you’ll probably be able to charge a hefty price

Your main challenge? Finding a new home.

You’ll have the greatest advantage if you don’t necessarily need to move into a new home right away — whether that means staying in your old home until your new home is ready, renting for a short period of time, or even living with family or friends for a few months.

NOTE: If you want to sell your vacation home, you should expect a significantly cooler market than the 2021 uptick. 

If you’re a renter…

As you may already be noticing, monthly rent prices are growing, as well. Rent has been increasing slowly since the 1990s, but it jumped extraordinarily high in 2020 and 2021 (in part, due to the pandemic & partially a response to the high cost of buying).

In fact, rental vacancy rates have dipped as low as 5.7% across the United States, a significant drop from the usual 6.8% to 7% rates

If you’re investing…

The booming marketing means you’ll experience exceptional returns. And because monthly rent prices are driving so high, rental property investments can mean even greater yields throughout the year.

Have we answered all your housing market questions?

Whether you’re a renter, investor, buyer, or seller in the Cape Fear Region, our team of real estate experts is here to help you determine your best course of action. To get in touch with one of our realtors, give us a call at 910-395-4100.


Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 16, 2021

The 9 Steps to Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Wondering how to pick the right real estate agent? 

When it comes to buying or selling a home, there’s a lot at stake. That’s why you need a quality Realtor with the right kind of expertise and personality to get you the deal you deserve. 

Whether you are selling your home or looking to buy a new property, your real estate agent should have your best interest at heart 

But how can you tell? 

Let’s dive in!

A realtor showing a couple a potential home.

How to Choose the the Right Realtor

  1. Conduct on-the-ground research. If you plan to buy a new home, play detective and drive around the neighborhoods you're most interested in. Take note of houses with “For Sale” signs, and research agents that list those properties. It’s one of the best ways to find out which realtors know the area well. 

  2. Google them! Scope out Google and Yelp reviews for honest assessments of the agent’s work, experience, and character. Check out LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms for more information about the Realtor’s personality and professional qualifications. You can also reference your state’s real estate commission to make sure they have a valid real estate license. 

  3. Pay close attention to their marketing. From a simple assessment of an agency’s website, brochure, and listing materials, you’ll be able to get a good sense of the company’s character. A good agency/agent should convey passion, transparency, generosity, and a strong work ethic. 

  4. Get those referrals. What better way to assess a Realtor’s character than to seek a referral from a trusted friend or family member? More often than not, sellers and buyers who find real estate agents through referrals are far from disappointed. A couple interviewing a realtor.

  5. Interview at least 3 real estate agents. Choosing a Realtor is like picking the perfect candidate for a job. Even if you are buying a new home and don’t have to pay Realtor fees, finding the right agent will still save you money down the road. During your interview, you should keep a few things in mind: 

    • Neighborhood expertise — How well do they know the area?

    • Transparency — Are they honest? Realistic?

    • Core values — What attitude do they bring to their work? What drives them?

    • Track record — What kind of experience do they have? What’s their work history? Have their former clients been pleased with their results?

    • Strategy — How much money will they save you? How are their negotiation skills? Do they seem knowledgeable?

    • Patience — Do they answer your questions completely and patiently? 

  6. Pick a Realtor you click with. You are going to spend substantial time with your real estate agent, so you need to actually like them. Finding an agent who is trustworthy and truly understands your goals can be quite the challenge. Steer clear of Realtors who are overly aggressive or vague about their level of experience. Your agent should be relatable, honest, easy to talk to, patient, and have solid negotiation skills. 

  7. Find an agent who’ll make YOUR interests their top priority. If you’re buying, be upfront and transparent with your real estate agent about the specific qualities you’re looking for in your new home. If the Realtor continually points you toward homes that just don’t fit your criteria, they’re probably not looking for houses for you. Instead, the agent is suggesting homes that will bring them a greater profit. And never be afraid to switch Realtors if the relationship feels off. Ultimately, finding the right real estate agent will save you money and help you achieve your buying or selling goals in the long run.

  8. Take note of how the agent speaks & listens to you. It should be clear that your Realtor is honestly trying to understand and achieve your goals. Your real estate agent should spend more time asking you questions and listening to your answers than telling you what they think you should do (at least in the initial stages of the home buying or selling process).

  9. Ultimately, trust your gut! At the end of the day, only you can tell whether a real estate agent is a good fit for you and your goals. If it seems that you and your agent can’t get on the same page, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

At Network Real Estate, our agents know the Wilmington area like the back of their hands. We have agents specializing in neighborhoods and properties across New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties

We don’t rest until our clients have sold their home for the best possible price or have moved safely into the home of their dreams. And once you’re in your new home, we want to make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed as a Wilmington area homeowner. 

Looking to buy or sell a home in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? 

We are here to help! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.